Landline Creative Labs is almost open

There’s stuff I want to do tonight. I want to read more about this Republican answer to Obamacare, with the hope of better understanding how exactly it’s going to fuck my family. I want to do some research and see if there might be anything to this theory that it was the “catfishing” of Anthony Weiner by the Russians that ultimately opened the door to a Trump victory. And I want to watch Orson Welles in The Third Man, while it’s still on Netflix. But, instead, I’m just going to sit here, in my bed, sadly watching videos about how to operate a Diamabrush Wood Tool without either ripping my arms from their sockets or severing my toes.

Now that we’re in the final stages of preparing the second floor of 209 Pearl Street for Landline Creative Labs, this is what my life has become. While we’ve been working pretty constantly over the past ten months, now that we’re in the homestretch, things have really accelerated, and every spare minute, it seems, is being spent doing things like studying how to remove “gummy coatings” from 100 year old wood floors, or debating the merits of various electronic door lock systems.

And, really, that’s just about all there is left to do at this point. This week, the new doors go in, the bathroom fixtures get installed, and we finish the painting. The only big things left after that are refinishing the hardwood floors in a few of the spaces where we haven’t already put down new flooring, and assembling the light fixtures for the main hallway, which are going to be constructed from the old, glass, telephone line insulators. Other that that, there are just a million little things that we’ve got left to deal with… Whereas last night was spent slowly drilling through boxes of glass insulators, a few of which exploded in my hand due to the heat of the drill, most of my time tonight is going to be spent searching the web for high-res images of switchboard operators, like those who once worked in the building, in hopes of finding one that might work as a graphic on one of our doors. [I forgot to mention it, but 209 Pearl was built by Michigan Bell Telephone in 1926, and it’s where we had our local switchboard for a number of years.]

Here, in case you’re interested, is what an insulator-drilling sweatshop looks like.

As for the space, it’s super beautiful and we’re really happy with it. And, if all goes according to plan, we’ll begin moving tenants in on April 1. As for who those tenants are, as of right now, we’ve got leases signed with two video production firms, a photographer, a graphic design company, and a few other folks that I’ll be telling you more about soon… Now, though, I need to finish learning about the Diamabrush Wood Tool, and then transition archive searching mode, looking for the best local switchboard photo ever taken. Wish me luck.

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13 Comments

  1. Demetrius
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Mark, and best of luck!

  2. Erin
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Awesome news! Good luck to you guys. Also, love that you’re using the old insulators for lighting :-)

  3. Jcp2
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Congrats!

  4. Jat
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    If you are still drilling through those glass insulators, a good trick for keeping materials like glass or stone from overheating and breaking is to place them in a small container of water as you drill. Keeps the material from overheating and keeps your drill bits staying sharp. Heat helps dull drills and other cutting tools by weakening the cutting edge.

  5. jean henry
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    First, hearty congratulations!

    Second, library of congress has a bevy of great vintage photographs; some from masters who worked for the WPA. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Switchboard%20operator

    Third, I still have too much old stuff from the failed to launch store plan. Including two old chalkboards, vintage light fixtures, display cases from herb David, etc etc that may be of use. They are yours if you want them. I think I still have an old bell telephone sign from the market somewhere too. Will try to dig that up.

    Fourth, are you giving up your UM job and benefits? I’m still free lance and freaking out about health care coverage costs, with two ore-existing conditions in the family. UM seems inclined to post full time jobs then change to part time with no benefits lately…

    It may be worth covering as the GOP plan is revealed. I am having a hard time even reading about it. Too nerve wracking. Maybe we could form a group of free lancers to buy insurance???

  6. Kim
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    All you have to know about the Republican health care plan, which they had 8 years to work on, is that everyone hates it.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/07/the_reviews_are_in_paul_ryan_s_obamacare_plan_makes_everyone_want_to_barf.html

  7. jean henry
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I hope that’s all I’ll need to know.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is going to be difficult for Trump to pull off. The AARP has come out against it, as has the national association of hospitals. To borrow from the newspaper, “Trump has negotiated big deals, but he’s never done anything quite like this. There will be a steep learning curve.”

  9. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Good for you! Good for Ypsilanti. Thanks Mark!

  10. 734
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    If it’s successful, try not let it go to your head. We don’t need you going full Trump on us.

  11. 734
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s a slippery slope. One day you’re a budding developer talking on the phone with reporters, pretending to be your own publicist. The next you’re throwing open the front doors of the White House for the goose-stepping leaders of the alt right.

  12. 734
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-alter-ego-barron/2016/05/12/02ac99ec-16fe-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html

  13. Posted March 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    We are geeked!

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